Sunday, 29 March 2009

Identity Theft

For years, the old-fashioned technique of stealing wallets from people's pockets was the major cause of ID theft, but that has now become an outdated technique.. Nowadays, more complex methods are used to gain access to a person's personal data which is then used unscrupulously to commit crimes such as fraud. An identity thief may steal your personal data by gaining access to your computer and from there to your records from your employer let's say or even bribing an employee who can make your records available to him. Dishonest employees can obtain social security numbers or other data in the workplace by having access to personal files, or by hacking into a bank's database. In a recent case, a dishonest employee had unlimited access to a storage room where past payroll info was filed. She obtained the social security numbers of over 100 current and former employess and used them to obtain credit in her name.
Stealing your bank statements from your mailbox is "Mail Theft", and going through your litter bin for bank statements is called "Dumpster Diving" - not to mention phishing - the creation of a fake website resembling a real one and asking for personal data.
Since I was a victim of identity theft on the Internet, I have decided to take some measures against hackers:
1. I have installed a stronger firewall
2. I have safely encrypted all my personal data, bank statements and credit cards.
3. I created a complicated password to have access to my computer which I stored in my head.
4. I use a hide-my-ip software programme whenever I visit crowded websites or social forums.
Have you ever been victims of identity theft online? How do you protect your personal data?

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Greek Independence Day

The celebration of Greek Independence Day on March 25th draws inspiration from one of the holiest days for Greek Orthodox Christians, the Annunciation of the Theotokos. This is the day that the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear a child. Bishop Germanos of Patras seized the opportunity by raising the banner of revolution, in an act of defiance against the Turks and marked the beginning of the War of Independence. Cries of Zito H Ellas (Long Live Greece) and Eleftheria H Thanatos (Freedom or Death) can still be heard today. These freedom fighters, or klephtes as they were called, of Greece sacrificed much for their country. Kolokotronis, Nikitara, Karaiskakis, Bouboulina, and Mpotsaris are some of the heroes of the Greek revolution. The struggle for independence was supported abroad by intellectuals of the day. In addition to the Secret Society of Friends (Filiki Eteria) and the Sacred Band (Ieros Lohos) prominent world figures including Lord Byron of England, Daniel Webster and Dr. Samuel Gridly Howe of the United States raised the interest level among Europeans and Americans. After centuries of unsuccessful uprisings and failure of the Ottoman Empire to assimilate and convert the Greeks, The War of Independence began in 1821 rising up against 400 years of occupation and oppression by the Ottoman Turks. The origin of the Turkish occupancy began in 1453 with the fall of Constantinople (currently referred to as Istanbul). All true and faithful Hellenes living in their occupied homeland reacted to the Turkish oppression and resisted the attempts to deprive the Greeks of their heritage, their freedom and their religion. During the dark years of the Ottoman occupation, thousands were killed and tortured for attending church or teaching their children the Greek culture, history and language. It was the Greek Orthodox Church that helped to retain their very identity by the institution of Crypha Scholia (Hidden Schools). These schools were secretely held in churches and a priest taught children their language, their history, their culture and their religion. For eight years the fighting ensued, until 1829, when the Sultan Mahmud II, facing Soviet troops at the gates of Constantinople, accepted Greek independence with the Treaty of Andrianople.
The flag of Greece has not changed since the revolution against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. The white cross in the upper left hand corner covering one fourth of the flag signifies the important role of the Greek Orthodox Church in the formation of the Hellenic Nation. The blue and white alternating stripes represent the sea and the relentless waves of the Aegean. According to legend, the Goddess of Beauty Aphrodite emerged from these waves. There are nine stripes representing each letter of the Greek word for freedom, Eleftheria.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Wild Life in Danger!

Throughout the world, animals are exterminated because their furs have a high market value. Fashion bears a heavy responsibility for the hunting of these wild creatures. Ocelots and jaguars are slaughtered in South America; cheetahs in Africa; leopards in Asia. All the large cats are in danger of extinction, although they are among the world's rarest and most beautiful animals. Would you wear a leopard-skin coat, if you knew that fourteen of these animals had been killed to make that coat? And this is only the beginning. Whales are slaughtered and are in danger of extermination because whale oil is used in cosmetics. Turtles are becoming rare partly because some people eat ...turtle soup! Crocodiles and alligators are killed to make handbags and shoes. Expensive scent is based on musk from civet cats.
Great damage to the animal world is also inflicted by wasteful and cruel methods of hunting animals for zoos, wild-life parks, circuses, and the pet trade, although the first two of these have done great service in protecting rare species. The whole whole subject of animals in captivity raises questions to which one may give different answers. Naturalists and nature lovers are individuals. They do not all think alike. While one may enjoy seeing elephants performing in the circus ring, another would be sickened by the sight of animals trained to perform tricks for our entertainment!. To my mind, it is a crime to take such creatures from their natural habitat and tame them, thus turning them into something different from what they are by nature.
Nowadays, in the twenty-first century, man often seems to be living in an artificial world of his own making, too far removed from the rest of the natural world. Perhaps he needs to learn afresh that he cannot survive if he destroys nature's network - the fabric of life in a living world.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

The Olympic Games

The Olympic Games are an international sports festival that began in ancient Greece. The original Greek games were staged every fourth year for several hundred years, until they were abolished in the early Christian era. The revival of the Olympic Games took place in 1896 and since then they have been staged every fourth year, except during World War I and World War II (1914, 1940, 1944).
Perhaps the basic difference between the ancient and modern Olympics is that the former was the ancient Greeks' way of saluting their gods, whereas the modern games are a manner of saluting the athletic talents of citizens of all nations. The original Olympics featured competition in music, oratory and theatre performances as well. The modern games have a more expansive athletic agenda, and for two and a half weeks they are supposed to replace the rancor of international conflict with friendly competition. In recent times , however, that lofty ideal has not always been attained.
Although the Olympic Games have been increasingly politicised, the ideal of the world's best athletes competing against each other in the arena of so-called pure sport has been at least partially realised, especially from the athletes' point of view. And even though skill and courage are manifested by most Olympic participants, the great gold medalists are the ones who are most often remembered.
Almost all athletes who take part in the Olympic Games stress that, for them, the rites of Olympic passage are apolitical - that while there is, of course, a great sense of pride in competing for one's country, the camaraderie shared by the athletes is the most rewarding of Olympic experiences.
The ideology of nationalism, which swept the world during the early 20th century, left its mark on the Olympics. The most serious disruption to the modern Olympics, however, occurred in 1980 and 1984. In 1980 the U.S. government led a boycott of the Summer Games in Moscow to protest the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In 1984, the Summer Games held in Los Angeles, were undercut by an eastern-bloc boycott led by the ex USSR.
Today lots of things have changed. In recent Olympic Games - both in Athens and Beijing - there was a lot of doping. Some athletes were disqualified. But this is not the issue. What I sadly see as a Greek is a degrading of the Olympics. The means justify the end : the gold medal above all and all the finamcial benefits PLUS the fame and publicity. The means justify the end. And considering hooliganism in there any fair play today?

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Online Communication

OK, here I am blogging on Blogger after an invitation I received from my good old friend Constantinos - the owner of this blog. OK, I'll be honest with you. When I received this invitation asking me to be his guest author, I emailed Constantinos and said I couldn't accept it despite the fact that he has been my guest author on my Cypria blog on Typepad for almost 4 years! And I must admit that thanks to Constantinos and his wonderful postings on Greece and the Greek islands, my Cypria blog on Typepad was upgraded! Constantinos has almost tripled the number of visitors to my Cypria page. This said I honestly do not rely on numbers or ...ok ...let me rephrase this. I do rely on numbers as far as visitors are concerned. As Jean-Paul Sartre said : "I write to be read" - J'écris pour être lu - And I wouldn't be blogging on 4 5 different blogs just for me! But!!! When Constantinos's invitation came, I had to have second thoughts. Not because I don't trust Constantinos - I do trust him wholeheartedly - but because I think that not many people will like me! I am avery straightforward and outspoken person, often very blunt, and I won't pretend! Well, I think Constantinos knows that! I promise I'll post something more interesting next time. At the moment , I would like to thank Constantinos from the bottom of my heart for trusting me to be his guest author. It's a great honour for me. And I do hope I won't mess things up! But before I go...just one question and please be honest! To what extent do you trust online friends? Would you trust anonymous people? Oh my! Where do I go from here? Ah right ...publish post I guess. I will..but ...Constantine mou, if no one comments on your brand new blog ....please don't blame me ! Filakia FROM ANASTASIA - GUEST AUTHOR


"He who lives by the sword dies by the sword"
Revenge originates from the primal need for self-defense. In today's world, it is often abused as a destructive and futile response to anger or humiliation. Exhaust all alternatives before considering revenge, and use revenge only if it is your only effective self-defense. Why do you believe it is your only alternative? Why do you believe it will be effective? Describe why you believe revenge addresses the cause and will have the effect you want. Most strategies for revenge fail because they attempt to change the past. Unfortunately once the damage is done and the injury, insult, humiliation, or other loss occurs, the clock cannot be turned back and the loss is permanent. In addition, the value of the loss to the offended is seen as much greater than any benefit gained by the offender. As a result the offense represents an unrecoverable loss to society as a whole. Successful strategies for revenge look far into the future and recognize that the cycle of vengeance and retaliation can only spiral toward tragedy and are best stopped before they are started. Revenge is a doomed attempt to eliminate shame and increase stature by asserting dominance. It fails because asserting dominance does not increase stature, instead it usually increases violence. Also, remorse cannot be coerced, it has to be discovered. Evidence indicates that forgiveness increases self-esteem and decreases anxiety.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The Spring Effect

It's a quiet day at work today. I had two appointments in the morning and the next one is at 5:30 pm. So I've got plenty of time to relax on this beautiful spring day. Just for once I don't have a long business lunch scheduled, so I invited my new girlfriend to lunch somewhere at Psiris. I like the hustle and bustle in Athens this time of year. People are friendlier, happier. Must be the Spring effect! The hectic part of the week starts tomorrow as I'm flying to Rome and Paris on business. Hope all goes well and get the contracts I want. But I'll try to keep in touch in between meetings. Take care and enjoy the rest of the week. And why not ? Some Greek music!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Strange Things

A rat can last longer without water than a camel. Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks or it will digest itself. The dot over the letter "i" is called a tittle. A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top. A female ferret will die if it goes into heat and cannot find a mate. Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying. A 2 X 4 is really 1-1/2" by 3-1/2". During the chariot scene in "Ben Hur," a small red car can be seenin the distance (and Heston's wearing a watch). On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily!(That explains a few mysteries....) Sherlock Holmes NEVER said, "Elementary, my dear Watson." Because metal was scarce, the Oscars given out during World War II were made of wood. The number of possible ways of playing the first four moves perside in a game of chess is 318,979,564,000. There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with orange,purple and silver. Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into spacebecause passing wind in a spacesuit damages them. The very first bomb dropped by the Allies on Berlin in World War II killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo. Weatherman Willard Scott was the first Ronald McDonald. If one places a tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion, it willinstantly go mad and sting itself to death. (Who was the sadist who discovered this??) Bruce Lee was so fast that they actually had to s-l-o-w film downso you could see his moves. That's the opposite of the norm. The first CD pressed in the US was Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA." The original name for butterfly was flutterby. The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law whichstated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb. The first product Motorola started to develop was a record playerfor automobiles. At that time, the most known player on the market was Victrola, so they called themselves Motorola. Roses may be red, but violets are indeed violet. By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you cannotsink into quicksand. Celery has negative calories. It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with. Charlie Chaplin once won third prize in a Charlie Chaplinlook-alike contest. An old law in Bellingham, Washington, made it illegal for a womanto take more than three steps backwards while dancing! The Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the bookmost often stolen from public libraries. The glue on Israeli postage is certified kosher. Bats always turn left when exiting a cave! Thanks to Deborah for submitting this!! And another via email --this comes by Suzie T.... In the 1400's a law was set forth that a man was not allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have "the rule of thumb" The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone. Men can read smaller print then women can; women can hear better. It is impossible to lick your elbow. The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska The average number of people airborne over the US any given hour: 61,000 Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair. The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer. The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments. 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321 Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history: Spades - King DavidHearts - CharlemagneClubs -Alexander, the GreatDiamonds - Julius Caesar If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes. Q. Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of what? A. Their birthplace. Q. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter "A"? A. One thousand Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers all have in common?A. All invented by women. Q. What is the only food that doesn't spoil?A. Honey In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase......... "goodnight, sleep tight." It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the "honeymoon". In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts... So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them, "Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down." It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's" Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle" is the phrase inspired by this practice. ~~~~AND FINALLY~~~~~~~~~~~~ At least 75% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow.
6 STRANGE things about ME! 1. Although I own a Mercedes, I hardly ever use it preferring to go on foot or take the bus or use the subway 2. I never carry an umbrella even when it rains heavily 3. I can eat anything even jaffa cake with hooves, chicken periods and pig tripe 4. I go to the cinema once a week and watch the same film 3-4 times in a row 5. When I'm depressed, I drink lots of grape juice 6. When I'm happy, I greet everyone I see even strangers

Friday, 6 March 2009

Why I Blog

Beginning a blog on a new blogsite is not always easy. I guess it takes time to get to know how the new blogsite works and how other members respond. I blog mostly because I feel it's great to share thoughts, feelings, ideas on both serious and trivial matters. Secondly, I blog because this gives me the opportunity to meet other people and learn through them. In other words, I believe that blogging creates some kind of culture awareness. Thirdly I blog because I often feel I need to have some sort of escape from routine. I think this is the most important reason why I blog. I'm certainly NOT a writer, but regardless of who reads my blogs or not, I feel this inner need, at the end of the day or whenever I have some free time to log in and let go of my rambling thoughts.